Bodybuilding for Martial Arts
Bodybuilding for Martial Arts
By Adam Sinicki
used to go to Tai Chi and
get slightly annoyed when my instructor told me I wouldn't get good
at Tai Chi if I carried on pumping iron. I wouldn't be able to 'react
like water' if my muscles were bigger was the suggestion, and I was
physically incapable of relaxing my traps so how was I going to be
able to practice moving meditation?
Today I put this down
to envy. The
Tai Chi teacher was a skinny hippy, and in retrospect I should
probably have strangled him. You see while there may be merit to
being soft like water, being more built would actually only afford me
control and so increase my ability to react. At the same time it
would mean though that when it was time to kick back, I could kick
Bruce Lee understood the value of bodybuilding in martial arts and
very few people are going to argue with that guy on the topic of
punching things. Martial Arts involves using powerful bursts of
force, and so of course having powerful muscles is going to help.
It's just that unfortunately martial arts is also full of bureaucrats
who don't like to admit when someone is stronger than them.
Want to kick ass even when you're fighting your legendary
grandmaster (who looks like he's currently already fighting a losing
battle with the Grim Reaper)? Follow the training advice below.
Which Muscles Are Used in Fighting?
First you need to know
muscles are used in fighting. The answer is that all
them are used in
fighting, but some in particular get a lot of action. For instance
those muscles used for punching are very regularly used in martial
arts, and those are – the triceps, the deltoids, the pecs and the
traps in the arm, and the abs, obliques and leg muscles. This is
something that is often overlooked in martial arts training – but
it's important to remember that the main thrust of your power should
come from twisting the hip and pushing off of the foot in almost any
There is also
contention when it
comes to the biceps. Many individuals claim here that the biceps are
actually not useful in martial arts and that they are in fact likely
to slow you down and reduce the power in your punches – because
they pull against
fists as you punch forward. However what these sweeping statements
forget is that pulling the hand back in again is highly important in
martial arts – any Wada Ryu Ka knows that there's is a very real
danger of having your arm grabbed in martial arts.
At the same time the bicep is also useful in several other martial
arts moves – and most notably in the headlock, where squeezing the
bicep just slightly can restrict air to the throat and give you a 30
second KO. So really don't sacrifice the muscles...
So What Do You Focus On?
So the conclusion is
muscle is important in martial arts – and the stronger you are and
the more powerful you are in
every aspect the more
efficient you will be when it comes to fighting.
However that doesn't meant that there is no strategy when it comes
to martial arts training. And while you should make sure you train
every muscle individually, you should also try to make sure you get
some specific training methods in too. Check below:
Plyometric Training: Plyometric training means explosive
your fast-twitch muscle fibres. These are the fibres that are
involved in explosive sudden bursts of power – those used when
jumping or punching. To train these you simply need to use explosive
movements in your training and that means things like clapping press
ups or box jumps. Do enough of this and you will make sure that you
remain like a coiled spring full of power.
The best way to
train the muscles you need for martial arts? Do
arts. But if you
want to make those muscles get larger at a good pace, then you also
need to make sure that you add extra resistance so that you are
training tougher than you would be if just going through the
movements. There are several ways to do this – performing punches
in deep water for instance, or with a resistance band gripped in your
fist. For your legs something like kicking with weighted ankles will
do the trick.
important to build muscle in martial arts, and while I'm annoyed at
douche 'masters' who claim otherwise, there are some areas for
concern that you need to address. Most notably you need to make sure
that you don't too drastically reduce your flexibility. To make sure
you don't, you should supplement your bodybuilding with specific
flexibility training, you should train for strength more than size,
and you should train through an extended range of movement – for
instance using press up stands to do press ups lower than the floor
so that your muscles are long and not short and thereby restricted in
their range of movement.
Grip and Push: Gripping and pushing strength are highly
underrated in martial arts. You want to be able to grab someone's
wrist and make it feel like a vice. Likewise you want to be able to
push someone and send them flying across the room. There are articles
on this site already about how to train your grip and your pushing
strength – so go find them!